Lancaster Northwest Gateway Project

Lancaster

Armstrong Phase
2010 Region 3 Winner

Lancaster, PA 

Key Project Lesson:   A true public/private partnership involving the remediation of a 67-acre parcel and the re-working of site into an “Eds and Meds” corridor 

Overview

The Lancaster Northwest Gateway Project – Armstrong Phase is a collaborative effort by local institutions to revitalize a large industrial brownfield in the heart of northwest Lancaster.  The Site is located in the City of Lancaster and is surrounded by mixed land uses, including Franklin & Marshall College, commercial/industrial businesses, warehouses, residential row homes, the Norfolk Southern Dillerville Rail Yard, Amtrak, and a new multi-purpose stadium.

The Site was established by the Armstrong Cork Company in 1906 and had been under continuous ownership by Armstrong since then.  The former flooring plant was originally constructed for the production of various floor covers including linoleum.  The manufacturing facilities comprised 2.65 million square feet of floor space with 196 buildings.  Reduced production prompted the consolidation of manufacturing activities to approximately 20 of the overall 67-acre parcel.  The remaining 47-acres were purchased from Armstrong for $1 by EDC Finance, an industrial development corporation in Lancaster and a partner in the project.  As part of this purchase, EDC Finance assumed the environmental liabilities for the cleanup with a goal of transferring the land to both the College and Lancaster General Health (LGH) upon completion of environmental cleanup activities.

Remedial activities began with an extensive review of historical data for the Site and continued with a comprehensive remedial investigation, followed by extensive site remediation, with the project ultimately receiving regulatory cleanup approval under the EPA’s “One Cleanup Program” agreement with PADEP.

The project is a clear example of a successful public/private partnership and has received the backing of the Lancaster City and Lancaster County governments and Commonwealth entities.  The community has recognized the strategic nature of this project and how it will benefit the entire northwest part of Lancaster City and has come together to support the effort to accomplish this initiative.

The total project cost had an estimated budget of $33.5 million, but was completed for $27.7 million, nearly $6 million under budget.  Initially, of the $33.5 million, 54% or $18 million was private equity committed by the College, LGH, and AWI.

Benefits

According to the James Street Improvement District Annual Report, 2004-2005, this redevelopment project is projected to contribute to continued redevelopment within the James Street Improvement District of Lancaster. This district covers approximately 25% of Lancaster along with a small portion of Manheim Township. As a result of this project, residents of the district (13, 000 residents in 6, 400 housing units) and people working within the district (6, 500 employees from more than 350 employers) will be able to reap the benefits of this athletic complex. These benefits could be from something as simple as a place to exercise during lunch breaks on the planned walking trails or an organized neighborhood sports league on the various athletic fields.

As a result of this undertaking, the City of Lancaster is afforded a unique opportunity to benefit from the redevelopment of an outdated manufacturing facility into a new, attractive, “Eds and Meds” mixed-use development.  This initiative represented an opportunity to quickly reclaim this industrial urban brownfield and transform it into an attractive recreational complex and shovel-ready four square block development parcel.  The sheer size of this parcel and project will have tremendous positive impact on the City and presents an unparalleled opportunity for sustainable development.

“Before Photograph”

Lancaster_graphic

Photo credit: Economic Development Company of Lancaster County

“After Photograph”

Lancaster_graphic

Photo credit: Economic Development Company of Lancaster County